Patchy results from latest rainfalls

28 Jun, 2000 11:07 AM
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WA's varied and late rainfall patterns continued during the past week, with some Wheatbelt farmers receiving opening rains while others had enough to finish their seeding programs. The variation was clearly shown in the south central region, where a fall of only 0.2mm was recorded in Mt Walker over the weekend while 38mm fell at Woodanilling. Reports from Newdegate have indicated that, after 3-7mm at the weekend, farmers are still chasing more rain. Patchy weather conditions in the Corrigin district have allowed some to get most of their crop in, while others are still waiting for more rain. Wesfarmers Dalgety Corrigin agent and crop adviser Paul Richards said last week that cropping programs were about four to five weeks behind schedule due to lack of rain, but, following a reasonable amount of rainfall over the weekend, he estimated most would be finished by the end of this week. Mr Richards said Corrigin farmers had experienced May weather in June, with those to the east now having received long-awaited rain. Areas east of Corrigin have reported falls of about 10mm, which Mr Richards said would probably get farmers through to finishing. "Earlier sown crops will now be exposed to weed infestations brought about by the fact that pre-emergents are wearing off," Mr Richards said. Even though post-emergent sprays had started to go on earlier sown crops, such as canola and lupins, Mr Richards recommended people start thinking about applying post-emergent sprays. Elders agronomist Roger States set a similar scene from Dalwallinu. In the hope of receiving some rain, Mr States said many farmers took the punt and continued seeding, despite the dry weather. Only minimal rain fell in most parts of Dalwallinu early last week and about 3mm were recorded over the weekend. "A significant amount of seeding was delayed due to the dry weather and, in most parts, there is still a lot of crop to go in," Mr States said. "There has been enough rain for most to keep going but everyone would be a lot happier with 10-12mm of rain. "It would make a huge difference." Mr States said Dalwallinu and Buntine had had the most rain and, while Goodlands was looking good, a lot of pain was being felt in the Calani district, with very dry conditions in Pithara. Moisture is generally still marginal in the Geraldton district but, as most crops have already been sown, farmers in this district are luckier than farmers in other areas. But Agrarian Management consultant Paul McKenzie said earlier sown wheat had booted to the stage of full flag leaf emergence, with some heads already appearing. Small amounts of rust had also been detected on some Brookton variety wheat crops. Tests were being done but Mr McKenzie said farmers were not overly concerned about it for now. He said everything would benefit from 15mm of rain, because, despite good sub-soil moisture levels, surface soil moisture levels were low, especially to the north and east of Geraldton. He was confident there would be good yields if there was no more than average rain between now and the end of August, matched by higher than average September/October rainfall, and mild temperatures in spring. In the Esperance district, many farmers have completed their seeding program, due to an abundance of earlier rain helping early crop establishment. But those who hadn't finished last week should be able to finish off the last couple of paddocks after general rain in the area over the weekend. Reed Richardson and Associates consultant Bob Reed said there had been areas that received from 12-16mm and he predicted the whole of seeding would be finished in a week. He also said rain received would even up the germination in the drier areas.

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